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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Oct 21, 2009 1:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

1977

The entire year!

No extended free-form jamming

Cookie cutter popout shows, youve heard one, youve heard em' all

Overrated!

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Poster: Lou Davenport Date: Oct 21, 2009 7:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

In defense of Spring 1977, Jerry's guitar tone was about as beautiful as it ever got, and his solos were both harmonically adventuresome and largely successful. The SBDs had a rich, fat sound, too.

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Oct 21, 2009 7:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

i'm with you on that thought Lou - cookie cutter setlists be damned - they sounded DAMNED fine!!

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Poster: ganges Date: Oct 21, 2009 8:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

I'm with both of you!!! 77 is my favourite year, but I have to say I always felt in the minority here, which is perfectly fine! GC might support us here, too...

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Oct 22, 2009 8:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

Well, it's hard for me to imagine why anyone wouldn't automatically regale 1977 as BY FAR the band's greatest year.

But that's what makes horse races. I'll just repeat at the risk of redundancy ;-) that the reasons I think '77 is the best is that

1) The sets, while largely similar, are played pristinely with few if any of the verbal and musical flubs that marked the band's earliest years, and certainly their 80's-90's period.

2) The vocals are not yet shot a la the 80's and especially Jerry in the '90's.

3) The mastery of material they've been playing for years up til this point now allows them to open up the jams on songs that before were pretty tame (listen to any pre-1977 Jack Straw, then cue up a '77 and try telling me the song hasn't become far more blazing now.)

4) Terrapin Freaking Station material. 'Nuff said.

5) Cliff, you're one of my favorite forum-ites...but dude, I want to give you the Python fish-slapping dance every time I hear you says there was no extended jamming in '77. JUST NOT TRUE. Go RIGHT NOW to 5/26/77 and listen to the 20+ minute monster jam on NFA. Go NOW to to the OTHER ONE from the Winterland June run and tell me that's not an extended jam project. Oh, and BTW, I'll take the jamming from 10/29/77 on EYES and LIG and ESTIMATED --over some formless feedback nonsense of 45 minutes from some lame '73 show any old day, thank you. Length does NOT equal quality (a way of saying 'size doesn't matter', I suppose ;-)

The jamming in '77 was just more laser-focused. You get more bang for your buck.

Also, they rocked the house in '77: SAMSON, DEAL, PASSENGER, TOO, TRUCKIN', 1/2 STEP...all were just blazing rock animals that year. Overrated? I say not, sir!

Now, what IS overrated?

OK, here are my votes:

6/30/85. Everyone raves about the Shakedown. Why?

5/6/81. Agree: don't see why this was a Dix Pick. Pretty decent but not especially great '81 show. 5/1/81 is WAY better.

2/15/73: Why this is one of the most downloaded shows ever is beyond me. 6/22/73 is a million times better, as is almost any late-year '73 show when Donna was on hiatus having her kid. Oh, and while we're on the subject: don't get me started on '77 set lists being similar when virtually EVERY 1973 show looks exactly on paper like the one before it. Even the Darkstars are ridiculously predictable. (Nice jazzy jamming for 20 minutes followed by ten minutes of ugly noise into something nice on the other end.)

WALL OF SOUND and 1974 in general: Ugh. Vocals sound tinny. Sound overall is high treble; Phil suffers. Some nice exceptions thrown in (6/14, 2/22 and 2/24 among them) and VERY GOOD China>Riders this year, but overall a pretty un-even and I believe overrated year. No wonder they needed a break when it ended.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 22, 2009 8:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

good points on '77 but even i have say that 10-29-77 is overrated. You agree i am sure.

Interestingly 2 of the 3 exceptions that you point to for '74 were not actually full wall of sound shows (the ones in Feb) so it is consistent with why you don't like the year as much.

2-15-73 downloads is a classic example of the problem with equating downloads with popularity. When this place was basically unattended for 2 years, that show was the "featured show" in the box in the upper left hand corner of the home page. Views count as downloads so I am sure that every time someone new came to the site, they clicked the link. Many of those "top downloaded shows" were featured at one point during the last 4 years.

Now 9-19-70 has occupied that feature box for months, although this is not due to lack of site upkeep it is by order of the Prime Minister who will not allow them to change it.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 22, 2009 9:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

Bwaaahhhaaaa!

Pardon that emotional outburst. Wait til I replace it with 12-29-68 next year...

Speaking of posts that go ignored, as you alluded to with one of yours (of course, I forgot which of the many), I mentioned the biz about some 70s shows not sounding as "intense" as they did live, and though we discussed this many times in the past, no one responded yesterday...do you think the point you made about 74 shows/wall contribute to this "70s shows often suck recording wise" (over-stated for effect!)? One of my consistent probs with Oct 74, SYF album, is the low intensity sound, IMHO...flat, uninspired--blah (again, the recording moreso than the playing).

Or is my whole critique of the sound of 70s DPs, SBDs, etc., just another example of my myopia/early era bias? Does Grendel say "WTF is Tell on about now?! I think 5-7-77 is as well recorded and intense sounding as any 71 show!"

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 22, 2009 9:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

I actually asked about WoS boards and why they sound the way they do once and the post was not ignored. I thought it might be because of the mics they were using to eliminate feedback from having them in front of the speakers resulted in a change in the ambient sound. Not sure I ever got an answer but I do think they sound different. By contrast there are some '77 boards that, to my ears, sound incredible. I assumed that some of this was because of the types of halls they were playing that year and the Mosque show always comes immediately to mind. Although I am not a musician I don't think you can discount the effects of the changes in equipment that occurred from the end of your era. Jerry switched guitars going into '72 and it did change his sound. For me songs like Bertha and Loser have always sounded better in '71 because of the raw sound of Jerry's guitar. I don't think this is because of the quality of his playing, just the sound that quality produced coming through different guitars. Although I think Jerry took that sweet sounding guitar in '77 and altered his solo in Bertha to something that sounded pretty nice. I just like the '71 sound better for those songs. Bobby changed his playing and his equipment after the break in fashion that also could be perceived as having less intensity. As has been mentioned here on many occasions, the band also played with the tempo of songs through the years and out of the break it seems that more slowed down than sped up. That said, I loathe '77 versions of Saint Stephen.

I don't think this makes one era quantitatively better or worse, however it can easily explain why some one like you would prefer one era while Grendelschoice could prefer another. Which brings me back to my problem with discussions of things being overrated (you knew i would get here at some point, we need Earl to insert his beating a dead horse emoticon). I think it gets confused too easily with personal preference.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 22, 2009 11:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

Oh yeah--I think this is a big issue...Jerry's tone is the one thing I have harped on continually (hmmm--ignoring your posts must have led to me thinking I was the only talking about this fact...harumph).

But, I would respectfully disagree a bit on what the inference from that is...for example, stretching your point, one could say, "WT is off base cause he doesn't like Jerry's singing in 95! It just changed!" and we would counter with, "no, it was degraded" and I think, have a point. Those that argue it is all taste have actually countered that counter with "but a degraded voice sounds better for his songs!" to which I counter "pffftt!"

Anyhow, another good day, and another exchange that leaves us a little closer to understanding why we sometimes get something out of not ignoring one another's posts...

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Oct 22, 2009 12:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

12-29-68 - is that supposed to be good or something? I just listened to it and thought it was a bit, you know, blah.

What's up with that then, eh?

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Oct 21, 2009 9:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

I agree with you entirely Lou!

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 21, 2009 5:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

Ha--probably cause I was there...I defn pref'd 75, although only three shows for me that yr...

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Poster: dogsinapile! Date: Oct 21, 2009 6:15am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

Totally agree. I have never understood everyone's fascination with 1977. As you said - no extended jamming, similar setlists, etc. I like some of the mid to late 80's stuff better. At least they were stretching out sometimes and mixing up the setlists more, in spite of the other issues they had at the time (drug use, vocal decline, etc.)
Give me a good ol' 73 or 74 show anytime.

But this is what makes the Grateful Dead so great - one man's trash is another mans treasure.

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Poster: jerrys beard Date: Oct 21, 2009 12:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

Bias up front that I gravitate to 68 - 72 and am trying to reach further. But 77, while I appreciate the musicianship and find myself head bobbing, just doesn't have the spark that I find in those earlier years. I know it is suppose to be the Golden Age of the GD and all, but seems rather formulaic as noted in other posts. 78 is even worse, very uneven performances although some of the drumming that they brought back from Egypt had a good influence on the band, in my opinion.

At the risk of being ad nauseum, it comes down to opinion, and my tastes run to extended jams, particularly of a somewhat manic and psychedelic nature and you just can't beat Dark Star>St Stephen>The Other One or a great Caution or Viola Lee Blues.

Someone mentioned the variety of the Dead 09 tour and was fortunate enough to be backstage for the Forum show. The boys were pumped and gave it their all. Great setlist, very adventerous and well played, again my opinion After the show I spent about 30 min talking with Mickey about radio astronomy (I'm a geek) and he spent the entire time wiping the sweat off with a towel. He was completely spent. It is that kind of energy that I hear in 68 - 72, but finding missing in some of the later years. Even Jerry said they dropped a lot of songs because they were too hard to play. I would rather hear them take the chance and fail, with the possibility of being transcendent, then sticking to a "safer" setlist with fewer chances for failure, but also fewer chances for transcendency.

Probably a few hundred examples showing why my emotional analysis is dead wrong, which is why I usually try to lurk in the background, leaving posts to much more intelligent individuals.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 22, 2009 6:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

Hey JB--I'll echo the Fisherman and say outstanding! Of course, I agree completely...

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Poster: jerrys beard Date: Oct 22, 2009 6:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

Thank you gentlemen...perhaps I shall stick my toes in the water more often.

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Oct 22, 2009 5:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

Well you sound much more intelligent than the folks who are convinced the band peaked in 1984 (probably because that was when they were attending shows)

Hope you will continue to contribute here...

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Poster: TOOTMO Date: Oct 21, 2009 7:37am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

"Cookie cutter popout shows, youve heard one, youve heard em' all"

If we're talking about setlists, can't that be said for most years? I don't think there was any great variety going on in 68 or 69, though I could be mistaken. I would think that most Forumites could guess within a year or so of when a show was played just by looking at the setlist.

In my opinion, the most varied setlists of all time came in 2009.

TOOTMO

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Poster: DeadRed1971 Date: Oct 22, 2009 3:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

2009 was the first time in like forever that the band or any other incarnation of it had locked themselves away for weeks at a time rehearsing for upwards of 10-12 hours a day working on their live stuff. Think that would've happened when the fat man was still around?

You would've never heard Touch of Grey AND New Potato Caboose in the same show with Jerry ever.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 21, 2009 9:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

Oh yeah, we early era types do put up with some very consistent set-lists for sure...and given the long "suites" sometimes shows might only have 8-12 songs total, whereas latter eras generally might have 20-25 songs total...?

Of course, we do get the complex shows of 70 in which they mix in multi song acoustic sets with electric jam sets, and that was variable in multiple respects.

But, still--69 has some shows that are the same night in and night out, like the Fillmore Boxed set reveals.

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Poster: TOOTMO Date: Oct 21, 2009 9:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

"Of course, we do get the complex shows of 70 in which they mix in multi song acoustic sets with electric jam sets, and that was variable in multiple respects."

PM Tell, I concur completely.

I think the biggest culprit contributing to the cookie cutter feel of the later shows was the drums/space DMZ between "2nd set, pre-drums" and "2nd set,post-drums". It just chops the show up into such smaller pieces. And, once certain songs to took up residence in a certain quarter of the show, they very rarely strayed from their slot. This creates such a degree of predictability that even stoned hippies can call a song and sometimes be correct!

TOOTMO

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 21, 2009 11:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

The drums space section was my chief gripe at the time...though I go on about vocal degradation, Jerry deterioration, Hunter lapses in new material, etc., for post 75 or so, it was defn drums/space that bored the crap outta me at the time, and esp evident when I was trying to break a newbie in to the whole experience.

They defn seemed to have more of the "mailing it in" potential as Jerry used more and more, as Earl and others have noted, from about 78 on...Just watching Jerry hop around stage during JBGoode at Fillmore Closing DVD, big smile on his face, looking utterly alive, brought the contrast home to me with what I saw in 78-82 in which he often appeared about as lifeless as one of CLIFF's hour old decked fish...sometimes even the same open mouthed blank stare.